Bucknell Men Show Continued Growth, Earn 3 Grand Final Berths at Knecht Cup

The Bucknell Men competed in their third regatta of the 2015 season this past weekend, April 11th and 12th, at the Knecht Cup on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ. Despite bright sunshine and warm temperatures , high winds disrupted the racing schedule. Most of the Saturday racing was cancelled, and the varsity eight heats were moved to Saturday evening, while freshmen racing was suspended until Sunday.

The second varsity eight was one of the first races to go off Saturday evening. Rowing with a fierce tailwind and significant chop, the 2V knew they would be in a tough race.  Their heat proved to be a fast one, with crews from Hobart and St. Josephs quickly moving away from the field.   The 2V kept pace with the lead crews and managed to open up a gap on the rest of the field. Despite the rough water, the 2V held on to 3rd place and earned a spot in the Grand Final.  The final took place on Sunday afternoon, in much improved conditions.  Even with a fast start, Drexel, Hobart, and Delaware moved away from the field, while Boston College, Bucknell, and St. Josephs continued battling it out behind them.  A strong middle of the race saw the 2V move into a solid 5th position, which they held to the line, finishing with a time of 6:22.  The 2V’s lineup consisted of Doug Burney, Crawford Morris, Sam Jubb, Will Fierman, Jack Shelton, Nick Barpoulis, Victor Young, Sam Wiley, and was coxed by Henry Leonardi.

The varsity eight was the second boat to race with the adjusted Saturday schedule. Four boats would advance to the semi-finals from each of the 3 heats, so the Bison went off the line quickly to try to get up on the field. Boston College managed to move away from the field, but the 1V and Delaware remained locked in an even battle through the middle part of the race.  The Blue Hen’s managed to push out a small lead moving into the last 500 meters, but the Bison had done enough to ensure a 3rd place finish in their heat. Up next was a very tough semi-final for the 1V, with crews from Drexel, Delaware, Washington College, Marietta, and Villanova.  The 1V had a poor start, but quickly found a rhythm and pushed back into the field. Drexel moved away from the pack, but the Bison continued to move up on second place Delaware, pushing away the other crews.  The finish was a close one, with the 1V was less than 4 seconds off of the Blue Hens and finished 2 seconds ahead of 4th and 5th.  The 3rd place was enough to move on to the Grand Final.  A tight start in the final saw all 6 crews hold even through the first 500 meters, but Drexel, Hobart, and Boston College pushed out to a small margin in the middle portion of the race. The Bison began to slip back but maintained contact with Army and Delaware.  A strong sprint closed the gap, but wasn’t enough and the 1V finished in 6th with a time of 6:16, less than 3 seconds off of Army and 5 behind Delaware. The 1V was made up of Ryan Thompson, Billy Tyler, Nate Coffin, Alex Moore, Tyler Bogaczyk, Andrew Vinnik, Billy Pinamont, Lucas Colagrossi, and was coxed by Suzie Zubkoff.

Due to the readjusted schedule the freshmen eight and four events were adjusted, instead of progressing to semi-finals, the top seven boats would advance to the final based solely on times. In their heat the freshmen eight could not keep pace with Mercyhurst, but moved away from Rutgers and Villanova. Without a boat next to them, the freshmen tried to push back up to Mercyhurst, but could not close to the gap. After a brief wait the 1F learned they had finished with the 9th fastest time out of the heat, which meant they would race in the 2nd level final.  Disappointed, but wanting to prove something, the 1F attacked the 2nd final right from the first stroke and quickly established a length lead over the field. They pushed out their advantage in the middle part of the race and crossed the line with a 6 second cushion over 2nd place Lehigh. The 1F finished with a time of 6:25, which would have put them in contention with the 4th-7th place crews in the Grand Final. The 1F was made up of James Koenigsberg, John Gleason, Dillon LaFata, Rich Nicolaides, Ben Claytor, Mike Pallotta, Cameron Williams, Pat Long, and was coxed by Nick Asaro.

The freshmen four raced a strong heat, finishing in second behind a strong Army crew by less than 5 seconds. After all the heats were completed, the frosh four ended up with the 7th fastest time, qualifying them for the Grand Final that afternoon. They were determined to show that they were among the best crews in their event and charged off the line in their final. Moving into the last 500 meters of the race, the frosh were right next to 3rd place UConn and 4th place Marietta, but their early efforts proved too much. They would hold on to finish in 5th place with a time of 7:19, less than 6 seconds off of Marietta, and 1 second ahead of Army.  The freshmen four was made up of Christian Daugherty, Shawn Gilhooley, Luke Goodwin, Mike Birosak, and was coxed by Perry Hamilton.

The Knecht Cup challenged the team to compete over two days, and be adaptable to the schedule changes.  The team stepped up and the program saw the best results of the season.  While we are not talking daily about the results, we are talking a lot about daily and weekly improvements that will lead to speed, and we saw a big step forward this week.  We look forward to the coming weeks, and continuing the weekly improvements.  The Bucknell Men will race again next Saturday, April 18th at the Kerr Cup in Philadelphia, PA, on the Schuylkill River.